The house was built in late 1912, and first occupied by Victor C. Best, a veterinary surgeon and his wife Winnifred.
In 1915, the McKay family moved in. George McKay was born in Tignish, Nova Scotia in 1878 and moved west in 1909 after the death of his first wife and 3 week old son. He married Edna and they had a daughter Phyllis, born in 1911, and a son Rayworth. George was a carpenter who partnered with John Ross McTavish in 1925 to form McTavish and McKay Co Ltd, a general contracting firm. They worked on many residential and commercial construction and renovation contracts through boomtime Calgary’s 1960s.
The house was divided into suites during World War II, and portions were rented out through the 1970s. After George passed away, Edna McKay remained here until 1962 (she lived 47 years in this house!). Their daughter Phyllis was married across the street at Scarboro United Church in 1936, with the reception back at the house decorated by homegrown pink peonies!
1639 became a single family residence again in the 1980s. The current residents, the Hanna family, have lived here since 1994.